We can't seem to get over Matt & Leslie's wedding day!  It was so full of joy...contagious joy.  Jess and I left the wedding raving about how much we loved it -- we couldn't stop talking about it!  Leslie was one of the most trusting brides.  The peace she carried with her all day was the kind of peace I hope to carry on my own wedding day, and I don't make those kinds of statements often.  Matt was proud to claim her and it showed in a similar simply joyful way.  They were both excited and thankful to be surrounded by their friends and family, and their friends and family were more than willing to contribute to the celebration.  They helped to create a vision, they styled, decorated, designed and made sure it all came together -- and the finished product was a beautiful representation of the two families, down to every last detail.

If you're looking for a florist and you're anywhere near Knoxville, Allie King of Sassafras Flowers is your gal.  I have never had a negative thing to say about her work! It's always uniquely representative of each bride and Leslie's were nothing short of simple and elegant.

I had never seen a dress with this type of design.  It's playful ruffles brought an honest innocence to it, true of Leslie.  I could totally picture her as a child spinning in circles in a dress made of a similar material.

Credit for the photo below totally goes to my assistant Jess.  She knocked it out of the park with this one!

When Leslie and I first sat down to talk about photography details and the schedule, she said to me "My dad isn't going to see me until right before he walks me down the aisle."  Even though I knew this was a wedding tradition, I had honestly never documented a wedding that chose to participate in it.  As we flipped through pictures of her sister's wedding album, Leslie explained to me that her dad had waited to see her sister right beforehand as well and we began to plan accordingly.

Fast forward to the wedding day.  A little before the ceremony began I was doing my usual routine of making sure I had gotten all the details and was attempting to collect my thoughts.  I walked around the back to check in on everyone and I found Leslie's dad, Michael, sitting by himself... waiting for the cue to see her.   Michael is actually a leader in the church I attend in Knoxville and has played a significant role in many of my friends' lives.  I briefly asked Michael how he was doing and after walking away I had a thought, one which I questioned, disregarded, reconsidered and then acted on.

What followed was one of my new favorite moments from all of the many weddings I have ever been a part of.  I asked Michael -- a man who has not only prayed over me a few different times but has also lifted many, many of my friends up in prayer -- if I could pray over him.  Spending only a few minutes, Michael gave me the opportunity to share in thanking the Lord for his relationship with his children, and specifically for the daughter he had been given the opportunity to be a father to: to bring into this world, to raise up in the Lord... and to give away at an altar.

I can only imagine the thoughts that go through the minds of the many parents I have taken family portraits for on wedding days.  I'm sure so many of the thoughts are conflicting. My prayer on wedding days, whether I'm ever given the opportunity to speak them out loud or not, is that families can give what they have been given and celebrate what they are gaining.

There aren't enough words for this.  I'm just incredibly thankful to have been a part of this worshipful celebration.

These two have super-fun friends and an obviously dedicated and supportive community.  What a blessing!

Below is possibly my favorite shot of the day.

If you haven't already seen them, you can find Matt and Leslie's engagement session HERE. 

The reception was held at the home of the bride's family, full of southern elegance and charm.  Reception flowers and decoration were done by Miss Katie Rae Roach of The Katelier.  This gal also has some rockin' skills as you can tell by the photos below.  I love the combinations of the different types of flowers -- they fit Leslie perfectly!

Matt & Leslie, thank you for letting Jess and I be a part of your celebration.  You were a JOY to work for and we hope these photos continue to remind you of the many blessings you've been given by our Father. You are deeply loved by many! P.S. We should all hang out soon!